Becalmed, listless, stagnant; at the end of summer 2017 that is where I have found myself. I could blame it on several other things but it always comes back to me. To say I lost my drive after finishing the bottom of the pathfinder is an understatement. For months she sat in the corner as I piddled on other things. I worked on the house, I worked on the bikes. Occasionally I would poke about the pathfinder but never really accomplish anything. The excuse I was using was the fact that she was upside down and I had finished everything I could do with the hull inverted. Things are busy at work, how could I get help to flip the boat when all of my friends (and myself) were working lots of overtime? As the summer ended the old itch came back. I started looking for alternate ways to get the pathfinder upright.
At the end of August, I had the first free Friday I had seen in ages and I spent it in the shop. To get myself moving I decided to jack up the boat, pull it off of its current stand and build a new stand for the bottom.
This move really committed me to getting the boat flipped. I know several people have built this boat and ones like it in smaller places. I cannot live day to day without being able to move stuff around the shop. Now, how do I flip it myself? I tried to roll it over with no luck. The old girl has gained a few pounds since we turned her over the first time so I was stuck looking for other options. The answer came indirectly from my friend and master motorcycle mechanic Darrel. In his garage at home he has placed a beam in the ceiling and a hard point that lets him suspend an entire motorcycle. A sport bike weighs between 400-500 pounds, not too far off what the pathfinder weighs now. Maybe that would work. A quick trip to Amazon and the parts were on the way.
“Oh man I am screwed”
I had rigged the hard point in my ceiling and attached the hoist to the boat. My original plan was to wait until Cheryl got home from work so she could help me photograph the flip and lend a hand when needed. It was around two when I got everything rigged up so, of course, I wanted to test it out. Slowly but surely I tested the limits of my rig. I would lift up on the side and use the hoist to hold the load. Heavy work but still controllable. I raised it higher and higher every time until all of a sudden it stood up right on its side balanced on the oak rub rails. The one thing I didn’t count on was the boat sliding several feet and now almost touching the far side wall of the shop. This left me in a bad predicament, because the hoist was rigged to the center point of the shop, and the boat had slid meaning I couldn’t let the boat back down easy with the hoist. As the load went over I had to hold the full weight of the boat until the slack was taken up. I know I couldn’t handle that load. On the other side I could not continue to flip the boat because it was too close to the far wall. What the hell!
I ran through my options and none were good. My neighbor was at work, no help there. Cheryl doesn’t get home for three hours, no help there. I can’t call my dad because the phone is on the other end of the shop plugged into the stereo. Shit! I couldn’t take my hand off the boat, too unstable. #$@%! I would have to flip it or wait until the lovely bride got home at six. With the rope in one hand and the boat in the other I slowly rocked the pathfinder to the center of the shop. Committed, I slowly let her down.
At the end, I was truly shocked as to how strong these boats actually are. There was no flex in the hull when I had it up on its side and later when it dropped off of my floor jack and hit the ground there was no damage, just a solid thunk when it hit the ground. The only casualty was a little paint scraped off the bottom as it slid around.
With mobility restored, it was time to clean the shop and take a well needed rest.